Sport Psych Wednesday with Brian Alexander - Goals Support the Mission

Goals Support the Mission

The last Sport Psych Wednesday post focused on finding a level of motivation which meets the psychological needs of the athletes on the team. This week offers a culture building tool which meets those needs.

There is a difference between pursuing goals and living a mission. When teams are on a mission, obstacles and setbacks turn into learning opportunities. The mission drives athletes to train harder, focus longer, and beat all odds against them. The mission shapes the culture of a water polo program and the athletes operate by a set of values and qualities that the greatest champions embody.

Goals represent tours of duty. The mission may take longer to reach than goals, so it is important to set goals that are actionable and SMART. There needs to be a realistic chance of success. SMART stands for specific, measurable, adjustable, realistic, and time-bound. If you make every one of your goals SMART then you will know the exact first step to take that will lead you toward your mission.

Starter guide to establishing the mission:

  • What values and qualities do you see in the most elite water polo athletes?
  • How will you operate by those values and qualities on a daily basis?
  • What ways will you interact with others?
  • What legacy will you leave in your water polo program for yourself and your team?
  • Combine your values, qualities, and legacy into a short statement or an acronym (example: R.A.I.D.E.R.S. Rise Above with Intensity, Determination, Endurance, Resilience, and Strength).

Starter guide to setting types of goals:

  • Outcome goals are long-term goals dependent on influence from other people or things (example: Winning the season championship).
  • Performance goals are goals completely under your control focused on improving your own past performance (example: Becoming a faster swimmer by the end of the season).
  • Process goals are action oriented and very detail specific for a certain skill or fundamental (example: Practicing my 6x5 shooting for 5 minutes after practice every day this week by emphasizing my leg drive and different release points to shoot around blocks).
  • Set more performance and process goals than outcome goals.
  • Set goals that are somewhat of a stretch from where you honestly assess your current ability.
  • Learn how to break them down into actionable steps, word them in a positive future focused structure, write them down, and take action.
  • Adjust the goals as you need to depending on progress. You may surprise yourself as you get started.
  • Use a goal staircase to connect your long-term goals to your short-term goals.

If you are interested in one on one mental skills coaching or for your team, you can contact Brian Alexander via email: Alexander.brian3@gmail.com or at www.athletementalskillscoach.com Also follow him on Twitter @BA_POS_MIND on Facebook (Athlete Mental Skills Coach) or follow his biweekly blog post on LinkedIn.